Summer of 2022: SpokenWord continues every Monday until end of July.

SpokenWord every Monday at the Chat Noir. AWOL writers’ group every Sunday.

SpokenWord Paris is one pole of a nomadic tribe of people who love poetry, writing and song. A home for creatives and lost anglophones. We do an open mic night called SpokenWord every Monday at the Chat Noir and an allied writers’ workshop every Sunday. We do a literary journal called The Bastille and Tightrope Books published many of us in the book “Strangers in Paris.” Click on the blue stamp on the right to sign up to the mailing list – if it doesn’t work send an email asking to be put on the mailing list to db1066 @ Our Facebook page.

Open mic/scène ouverte: Performance poetry. Lire vivant. Poésie sonore. Stand up. Monologue. Stories. Beat poetry. Spoken word. English. Français. Your own original texts. Old texts from Rimbaud to Dr Seuss, Beowulf to Gil Scott-Heron. Chacun a son mot à dire. Make the words come alive. Acoustic songs also welcome.

Poetry video clips on our instagram at spokenword_paris

SpokenWord Sounds
A taste of Monday nights at the Chat Noir, by Victor. Listen or download here.

Every Monday except August. Come to the Chat Noir, 76 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud 75011. Métro Parmentier/Couronnes. Sign up at 8pm in the bar. Poetics start 8.45pm underground. More info here. Paris’ biggest and longest-running English open mic night, started in 2006. All languages welcome. 

Check next week’s theme here. Themes are a suggestion to inspire you but you don’t have to follow them. Indeed, many people don’t.

AWOL writers’ workshop

AWOL normally takes place every Sunday evening, 5pm – 7pm at the Chat Noir (76 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, 75011). AWOL’s facebook page. Free. Bring your writing or just come and listen and join in the discussion. Hosted by Bruce Sherfield, Simon Millward, Thibaut Narme and Camille Adnot. Friendly and insightful and afterwards you’re welcome to come for a drink. In a previous incarnation this ran for 10 years as The Other Writers Group and AWOL continues that group’s ethos of giving invaluable insightful feedback and providing a supportive space to hone your writing craft. Plus community among writers. Click here for a more detailed description.

Spoken World Online

This open mic is weekly on Tuesdays, an online version of what we do in the Chat Noir, and is hosted by David Leo Sirois. It’s on Zoom. More info at the Spoken World Online Facebook group.

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Yazmin Monet Watkins is Our Special Guest at SpokenWord Paris July 4th! Monday’s Theme: QUEER

Plus Special Musical Guest DOMINIQUE TONEY

Yazmin Monet Watkins is a poet, comedian, writer, actress, educator and organizer. Touring her intimate yet political poetry from Obama’s White House to Johannesburg, and empowering students from Harvard to youth prisons, Watkins’ body of work weaves art and activism, exploring the intersection of race, gender, sexuality, self-love and all things Black Girl Magic. A Posse scholar and a graduate of Dickinson College, Watkins’ work combines art and activism, providing critical artistic outlets for audiences to self advocate and heal. Watkins has developed pilots with Netflix and Comedy Central alongside Paul Downs, Lucia Aniello and her all Black female comedy group, Obama’s Other Daughters. You can see their work on their Comedy Central show and their Shondaland podcast You Down? Watkins serves as the co-chair of the Arts & Culture committee for Black Lives Matter Los Angeles. Once Beyoncé said she liked her hair.

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Nina Zivancevic is Our Special Guest at SpokenWord Paris June 27th! Monday’s Theme: BULLSHIT

Poet, essayist, fiction writer, playwright, art critic, translator, Serbian-born Nina Zivancevic published 17 books of poetry. She has also written three books of short stories, two novels and 2 books of essays published in Paris, New York and Belgrade. The recipient of many literary awards, a former assistant to Allen Ginsberg, she has also co-edited numerous anthologies of contemporary world poetry. She has contributed to New York Arts Magazine, Modern Painters, American Book Review, East Village Eye, Republique de lettres. She has lectured at Naropa University, New York University and the Harriman Institute in the U.S., she has taught British studies at La Sorbonne and the History of Avant-garde Theatre at Paris 8 University in France.She has actively worked for theatre ( with the “Living Theatre”in NYC) and radio( 4 of her plays were emitted in the U.S. and Great Britain). She lives and works in Paris.

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Tonight Wednesday 22nd at L’Impasse poetry from David Barnes, songs from Kristina Vaughan, followed by an open mic

Unfortunately Sophia has Covid and can’t perform because she might still be contagious.

So… this event will now include an OPEN MIC section, as announced at SpokenWord on Monday.

The open mic will follow the sets by David Barnes (poetry from his forthcoming book) and Kristina Vaughan (songs from her first and forthcoming second album, plus a few covers).

Sign up for the open mic from 7pm at L’Impasse, 4 cité Griset, round the corner from the Chat Noir. Métro Ménilmontant or Parmentier.

Free event (we’ll pass the hat).

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William Strangmeyer is Our Special Guest at SpokenWord Paris June 20th! Monday’s Theme: MISSING

William Walrond Strangmeyer was born in Roanoke, Virginia, in 1945 and grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and New Brunswick, New Jersey, where he went to Rutgers University, studying classics, music and psychology, on which he declined to follow up or to practice. He has worked in many different fields of endeavor, including amusement parks, banks, book stores, cinema, door-to-door sales (like Abbott and Costello), poker games, restaurants, taxi driving and warehouses. A forty-five-year resident of Paris, he now earns his living as an English language trainer and translator. He is the former co-editor of Upstairs at Duroc. He is the author of several volumes of poetry (all slim) and has given readings too endemic to cite around Paris, but also in the States. His other principal interests are various forms of combat sports and old music (doo-wop, Gregorian chant, hippie music, Czerny). He is Archon of Paris for the Moorish Orthodox Church and a member of various other organizations embracing a few essential beliefs and having even fewer doctrines and eschews the party of Evil. 

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Jillian Montilla is Our Special Guest at SpokenWord Paris June 13th! Monday’s Theme: ROOM

Up until two weeks ago, Jillian Montilla (elle/she/her) was a part-time poet and a full-time master’s student in human rights at the Paris School of International Affairs. She’s still a part-time poet, but now she’s just unemployed. In 2020, Jill was named the U.N. Women Spoken Word Youth Poet. Partaking in the age-old tradition of poetry and activism, she has taught workshops on spoken word to migrant women’s groups and performed her poetry for the United Nations and international feminist organizations. Her poetry and essays, which unpack her Filipinx-American identity, have been published in textbooks and independent youth journals and magazines.

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Xoai David is Our Special Guest at SpokenWord Paris June 6th! Monday’s Theme: PLANE

photo by Sabine Dundure

Xoài Elda David (pronounced s-why) is a Third Culture Kid who grew up in eight different countries. She studied Graphisme at LISAA applied arts school and Book Design at Ecole Estienne. Xoài has published several poems and short stories, and performed as well as hosted at International House of Poets Shanghai (IHOP) and Spoken Word Paris. Her radio play ‘One Way Ticket’ was performed by Moving Parts Theatre Group. As a co-founder of Organisation to Decolonise International Schools (ODIS), she hosts webinars, writes articles and manages social media. She and her father were once on the front page of the Jawa Pos (Java Post) Indonesian newspaper. Mother of frogs and freelance designer, Xoài is taking a gap year to finish her novel and save up for a Masters in scientific illustration.

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Adeena Karasick is Our Special Guest at SpokenWord Paris May 30th! Monday’s Theme: HEAVEN

Adeena Karasick, Ph.D, is a New York based poet, performer, cultural theorist and media artist and the author of 12 books of poetry and poetics. Her Kabbalistically inflected, urban, Jewish feminist mashups have been described as “electricity in language” (Nicole Brossard), “proto-ecstatic jet-propulsive word torsion” (George Quasha), noted for their “cross-fertilization of punning and knowing, theatre and theory” (Charles Bernstein) “a twined virtuosity of mind and ear which leaves the reader deliciously lost in Karasick’s signature ‘syllabic labyrinth’” (Craig Dworkin); “demonstrating how desire flows through language, an unstoppable flood of allusion (both literary and pop-cultural), word-play, and extravagant and outrageous sound-work.” (Mark Scroggins). Most recently is Massaging the Medium7 Pechakuchas, (The Institute of General Semantics Press:  Language in Action, Checking In (Talonbooks, 2018) and Salomé: Woman of Valor (University of Padova Press, Italy, 2017), the libretto for her Spoken Word opera; Salomé: Woman of Valor CD, (NuJu Records, 2020), and Salomé Birangona, translation into Bengali (Boibhashik Prokashoni Press, Kolkata, 2020). Karasick teaches Literature and Critical Theory for the Humanities and Media Studies Dept. at Pratt Institute, is Poetry Editor for Explorations in Media Ecology, Associate International Editor of New Explorations: Studies in Culture and Communication, 2021 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Award recipient and winner of the Voce Donna Italia award for her contributions to feminist thinking. The “Adeena Karasick Archive” is established at Special Collections, Simon Fraser University. 

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Bruce Edward Sherfield is Our Special Guest Playwright with Actors, Rufo Quintavalle and Tori Johnson May 23rd! Monday’s Theme: MISCHIEVOUS

Bruce Edward Sherfield is (in my own words) a brilliant writer, director, actor, voice-over artist, artist and good guy. Most recently known for Detroit: Become Human (2018), Coldhearts: A Poetical (Part One) (2020)  and Black Box (2021), he also co-runs AWOL WRITERS– The Invisible Paris Workshop where he guides, instructs and inspires.  In his own words ””Bruce Edward Sherfield. Unidentified Flying Artist. Faking Over the World. One Mind at a Time. Paris.” We are honored and very pleased to invite Bruce to present to us one of his theatre pieces–Countricide: Dancing in the Purple.(Dramatic reading by Rufo Quintavalle and Tori Johnson)

Rufo Quintavalle was born in London in 1978, studied at Oxford and the University of Iowa and now lives in Paris. He is the author of ten books of poetry, the most recent of which, Shelf, is a line-by-line rewrite of Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself”. His earlier collection, Weather Derivatives, is currently being translated into French and Portuguese. Rufo has taught creative writing at NYU Paris and for many years ran the reading series, “Poets Live”. Rufo is also an actor with experience working in theatre, film and television. He plays the role of Hadrian Bunch in Coldhearts: a poetical, an experimental project mixing poetry and film.Coldhearts is directed by Bruce Edward Sherfield and features many members of the Paris poetry scene. You can currently see Rufo at the cinema in the film Les passagers de la nuit, directed by Mikhaël Hers and starring Charlotte Gainsbourg and Emmanuelle Béart.–oy9hLbDA

Tori Johnson is an artist who has worked primarily in Sacramento, Minneapolis, and London. She has recently moved to Paris, France in 2021 to pursue acting, directing, and creating!She has always had a passion for creating spaces– spaces that are bold, exciting, unique, open, inclusive, and connected. She started her journey being a part of amazing spaces as an actor at Guthrie’s BFA Actor Training Program and the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre Education Program in London. Then she found a love for creating inventive spaces for the actor to do their best work in directing both theatre and film. Fortunate enough to experience the joys of creating energized spaces in the classroom as a founding member and Program Director of the Northern California School of the Arts, she continued to create spaces for actors, students, teachers, and other creators.

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Richard Krawiec is Our Special Guest at SpokenWord Paris, May 16th! Monday’s Theme: MISTAKES

Richard Krawiec is an award-winning writer in both the U.S. and France. His French novels, Paria, Vulnerables, Dandy, and most recently Les Paralysés, were published  by Tusitala Editions.They have received rave reviews from, among other places, Rolling Stone and L’Obs. In the States, Krawiec’s work has gained attention from the New York Times, Publishers Weekly Recommended List, Village Voice Real Life Rock Top Ten, L.A. Times and elsewhere. He has been nominated for Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net multiple times.

He has also published two novels, a story collection, three plays, and three books of poetry in the U.S., most recently Women Who Loved Me Despite. His investigative feature articles have won regional and national awards. His literary awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and twice from the North Carolina Arts Council.  Individual stories and poems appear in Drunken Boat, Shenandoah, Sou’wester, Levure littéraire, Dublin Review, Chautauqua Literary Journal, and elsewhere.

His writing is often described as focusing on the lives of the underclass, and is informed by his personal  experiences.  He grew up in the depressed, working class city of Brockton, Massachusetts, and his many jobs include assembly line worker, dishwasher, newspaper delivery person, truck driver, fast food and short order cook, cabbie, waiter and teacher. He has taught writing to children and adults in homeless shelters, women’s shelters, prisons (including Death Row), literacy classes, refugee resettlement collaboratives, programs that help survivors of sexual assault, drug recovery programs, housing projects and at other community sites. Krawiec designed the curriculum for, and taught for over two decades, the Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced Fiction Writing online courses for UNC-Chapel Hill, winning their Excellence in Teaching Award for his efforts. He teaches Fiction, Poetry, Playwriting, Memoir and Hybrid Writing classes through a variety of community arts venues.

He is the founder of Jacar Press, a Community Active Press that supports progressive groups and individuals. Jacar publishes a diverse assortment of poetry books and also runs an internationally-focused online magazine, One.

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Lisa Pasold is Our Special Guest at SpokenWord Paris, May 9th! Monday’s Theme: PERFUME

Photo by Sabine Dundure

Originally from Montreal, Lisa Pasold is the author of 5 books of fiction and poetry;  Toronto’s Lemonhound Magazine says of her most recent book, The Riparian: “A spectacular agglomeration of the dank and murky, the dark and forsaken, poetry and prose, taking the reader through tragedy, loss, and transformation grounded in locations along the sodden New Orleans riverbank.” Lisa’s work has appeared in magazines such as The Atlanta Review, The Los Angeles Review, New American Writing and

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